“Decider—Los Angeles singer-songwriter Brian Whelan’s solo debut after making a couple of records with Brokedown (a.k.a. the Broken West) and playing in Dwight Yoakam’s touring band—is classicist guitar rock with country-rock and rockabilly shadings, confidently occupying similar musical space to guys like Brendan Benson and Marshall Crenshaw. The opening title track is a muscular, hooky tune with nice drive that adds a 12-string behind the chunky main riff that later feeds into a dreamy, almost psychedelic solo at the bridge. That loose, sunny vibe immediately gets more play on “Everything,” a gentle, soaring tune that feels like if might have fallen off the back of a Roy Orbison/Jeff Lynne collaboration. “High And Lonesome” moves a little closer to the ground, a funky little guitar boogie that chugs along under falsetto vocals that give the whole thing a playful, slightly unhinged edge. Here and throughout, Whelan’s songs are concise statements, carefully carved little jewels that make their case in two and a half to three and a half minutes and then move on down the line… like Buddy Holly reimagined by the Byrds… Brian Whelan knows where he came from, and I like where he’s going.”
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